Friday, January 22, 2016

Headline: "TN Lawmakers Act Goofy"...This is NOT News, People!

Our state is in deep trouble.

Tennessee Lawmakers Act Goofy, Attack Each Other Over Car Pollution

Bill would create September legislative session

Haslam reveals his 2016 legislative agenda

Gov. Bill Haslam on Thursday released his administration’s 42-bill agenda for this year’s legislative session that includes an effort to restructure higher education governance that led to the early retirement of the chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents schools.
The Republican governor wants to give more autonomy to the six four-year colleges to allow the Regents system to focus more on promoting graduation rates from the state’s two-year community and technical colleges.
Chancellor John Morgan earlier this month described the plan as “unworkable” in announcing retirement a year earlier than planned. Morgan said the changes would hurt would hurt oversight and accountability efforts.
But Haslam’s proposal is popular among lawmakers who would be able to tout more local control over regional schools in their home districts. Though one hang-up could develop over Haslam’s proposal to appoint all of the 12 members for each six school boards, which would control budgets, tuition and the selection of college presidents.

Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, has said lawmakers should have at least some say who serves on the boards of Austin Peay in Clarksville, East Tennessee in Johnson City, Middle Tennessee in Murfreesboro, Tennessee Tech in Cookeville, Tennessee State in Nashville and the University of Memphis.
Other bills in the governor’s legislative agenda would: Read More From the Associated Press

Haslam prioritizes fetal tissue protection, easier gun renewals

Other bills focus on higher ed, prison time

AUTHOR: Andrea Zelinski

In a sharp shift from year's past, two of the Gov. Bill Haslam's top legislative priorities touch on hot-button national issues -- abortion and gun rights.
The Haslam administration plans on pushing the Fetal Remains Act, a bill to increase reporting of what happens to human fetal remains following surgical abortions. The bill also bans the reimbursement for preservation or shipment of remains, which was at issue in undercover videos released last year of a Planned Parenthood executive discussing charges for harvesting fetal tissue. Since then, Planned Parenthood, which has several locations in Tennessee, has announced it would no longer accept reimbursement costs. The governor's legislation also requires facilities undergo an interim compliance assessment. 
“The Fetal Remains Act strengthens accountability and transparency for surgery centers performing abortions,” Haslam said in a statement Thursday.
The governor's office is also prioritizing legislation lowering the fee to obtain a handgun carry permit from $115 every five years to $100 every eight years. Under the proposal, deemed the Efficiency in Handgun Permitting Act, an interim background check will happen every four years instead of at the five-year renewal. The legislation will also let a permit lapse for eight years instead of six months before the applicant must apply for a new permit instead of a renewal.  Nashville Post

Tennessee Lawmakers Act Goofy, Attack Each Other Over Car Pollution

The state Senate met today and hilarity ensued. Senators voted to ask the federal EPA to let Tennesseans skip emissions testing for newer cars, and the idea spawned a weird debate about global warming, pollution, how much Republicans hate Washington, and alfalfa crops.

If the EPA will go along with it, it sounds like a great idea, right? Why should newer cars—models no older than 3 years—go through emissions testing when they all pass anyway?

As Sen. Jack Johnson, R-Franklin, pointed out, the process is a time-consuming “pain in the you know what.” Some senators said they’re for getting rid of emissions testing altogether because it’s a burden on lower-income drivers who sometimes have to fork over hundreds of dollars to fix cars that flunk the test.

Sen. Janice Bowling, R-Tullahoma, seized the opportunity to go on a rant against climate change, which isn’t happening as far as she’s concerned. She denounced the EPA as a “rogue agency” and mocked liberals who think that “by changing our lightbulbs we can save polar bears.”

Sen. Frank Niceley, R-Hollow Stump somewhere near Strawberry Plains, said it reminded him that “some of these emissions are good.” He said coal-burning trains back in the day improved alfalfa crops along the tracks by spewing much-needed sulphur.

Democrats saw the bill as another example of Republicans acting nutty. Sen. Lee Harris, D-Memphis, said the Senate was “increasing pollution and confronting the EPA, a very strange conversation to have when real-life Tennesseans have real problems and there are real issues.” Nashville Scene

Conservative Activists Argue U.S. Supreme Court Made Tennessee’s Straight Marriages Illegal

Conservatives have filed a lawsuit in Williamson County that they hope will lead to overturning the Supreme Court's same-sex marriage decision.
Their argument: If the state law banning marriage by gay couples is invalid, so is the law that allows straight couples to wed.
The suit is being filed in state court against the clerk's office in Williamson County. It comes a day after Tennessee legislators declined to get involved in the same-sex marriage fight.
The thrust of the lawsuit is this: When the Supreme Court ruled against Tennessee's marriage law last summer, it struck down all of it. Not just the parts that prohibited marriage between gays and lesbians.
"They purported to do two things that are mutually exclusive -- rule a law invalid and then rule that everybody has a right to get married under an invalid law," says David Fowler, a lawyer and former state lawmaker who represents the three ministers and two individuals who lodged the suit. WPLN

Bill would create September legislative session

hose who can’t get enough General Assembly action would get more if a bill filed last week becomes law.
Rep. David Hawk, R-Greeneville, has a simple idea: convene a September session in each odd-numbered year.
Hawk’s legislation would allow lawmakers the opportunity to introduce 99 bills and resolutions in each chamber during a session that would begin the Tuesday after Labor Day and end no later than Sept. 30.
During the session, lawmakers could also consider all bills and resolutions filed during the first annual session.
Hawk said the idea came after talking with constituents who were especially concerned with what lawmakers could do in the wake of several recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions.
The Republican lawmaker said he was forced to tell his constituents that they’d have to wait until January for lawmakers to take action on legislation.
Hawk believes the move is necessary because it would allow lawmakers the opportunity to accomplish more and even address a few unforeseen issues.
“Historically we’ve been able to deal with all the policy issues that we need to during a legislative session,” he said.
That doesn’t allow the legislature enough time to handle other issues, which he said this year have included ironing out the judicial nomination process, annexation and the state’s financial surplus.
Hawk noted that state law allows lawmakers to meet for 90 days during the two-year legislative session. He pointed out that last year lawmakers met for only 28 days. Tennessean/Subscription

Crockett Policy Institute

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